By DAN KARELL
The last 12 months hasn’t been a memorable one for the entire Chivas organization, and Saturday’s debacle by Guadalajara was the latest in the team’s poor performances during Liga MX’s 2013 Apertura season.
Despite firing Benjamin Galindo and replacing him with Juan Carlos Ortega, the same defensive errors continue to plague Chivas. Holding a three-goal advantage in the second half, the Goats conceded thrice in an eight-minute span to Tigres, coughing up the lead in a match that ended as a 3-3 draw.
Summer signing Aldo de Nigris put Chivas up 1-0 inside five minutes, before star Marco Fabian finished into an open net in the 53rd minute and Carlos Fierro added his side’s third in the 62nd minute, stunning the fans at the Estadio Universitario.
However, Tigres showed that they still have plenty of fight and belief in them, as the comeback began in the 76th minute, when youngster Alan Pulido calmly finished from close range. The hosts added a second four minutes later from the spot as Juninho blasted home, and Tigres completed the epic comeback in the 84th minute when Manuel Viniegra’s shoot took a deflection from a Chivas player and scooted across the line.
Here’s a closer look at the best of Liga MX from Apertura round nine:
MARTINEZ BRACE LEADS XOLOS TO VICTORY
Without Duvier Riascos leading the line and influential midfielder Fernando Arce away on international duty, Club Tijuana looked to forward Fidel Martinez to carry the team on his back. And that’s exactly what he did.
The “Ecuadorian Neymar” scored a brace in 90 minutes of action, including a lovely chip for his side’s final goal as Xolos defeated Veracruz, 3-0. Veracruz was missing star winger Angel Reyna, who is away with Arce in the Mexico National Team squad.
Martinez opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a close range finish, before defender Pablo Aguilar headed home a corner kick six minutes later to go up 2-0 into halftime. The 23-year-old Martinez then beat the offside trap in the 65th minute and deftly chipped Veracruz goalkeeper Edgar Hernandez to finish the game off.
CRUZ AZUL SHOW CHAMPIONSHIP METTLE IN COMEBACK VICTORY
With high aspirations heading into the Apertura season, Cruz Azul is starting to put all the pieces together for a potential title run this fall.
La Maquina trailed after just two minutes played, but over the course of the next 70 minutes, mounted a comeback to tie and then take the lead over host Toluca, before defeating the home side, 2-1.
Despite the defeat, it was Toluca who scored first taking advantage of a mistake by left back Israel Castro. Castro whiffed on a clearance attempt, allowing Juan Carlos Cacho to break through the Cruz Azul defense and supply the close-range finish.
In the second half, Mariano Pavone picked up his teammates with a tremendous solo effort, receiving the ball inside the box and getting past two defenders before firing a powerful shot for a goal in the 54th minute. Cruz Azul finally took the lead in the 72nd minute with a long-range strike by Alejandro Castro, securing all three points on the road.
Here’s a look at the entire list of matches from Apertura Round 9 in Liga MX:
Queretaro 1, Puebla 0
Club America 1, Monterrey 0
Tigres UANL 3, Chivas 3
Pachuca 0, Pumas UNAM 0
Atlante 2, Morelia 2
Club Leon 0, Chiapas 1
Atlas 2, Santos Laguna 2
Club Tijuana 3, Veracruz 0
Toluca 1, Cruz Azul 2